Filled With Joy

How do you expect this coming week to play out? What are the things you’re looking forward to? What are the things you’re dreading?

As you go through the next few days, I’m sure that things won’t always go as you expected them to be. When our circumstances are disappointing, the first thing we can lose is our joy. As we start this week, let me pray Romans 15:13 for you all of us:

13 I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13 NLT)

Let us commit this week to God and trust Him for every meeting, every commute, every payable, every decision, every task, every relationship  and everything else in between. He is our only source of hope and let us allow Him to fill our hearts with joy and peace however our week will turn out to be.

3 WAYS TO REFRESH YOUR SOUL

Don’t we do a lot to take care of our bodies?

We eat right (or maybe it’s more apt to say that we “attempt” to do so). We try to exercise regularly. We do our nightly skincare routine to slow down aging, and spend countless minutes every morning to do our makeup. 

It’s good to take care of our bodies. But it’s also of equal importance to take care of another part of us—one that’s not visible, but truly intrinsic to who we are as women. I’m talking about our soul.

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5:23 (NIV)

This verse tells us that we have a body, spirit, and soul. Our spirit is that part of us that lives for all of eternity. Our soul refers to our intellect, will, and emotion.

Like our bodies, our souls need rest, and can only find rest in God (see Psalm 62:1). Our souls can be downcast, unsteady, and drawn to sin at times, but the Bible says that God restores it (see Psalm 42:11 and 2 Peter 2:14). On the bright side, Scripture also tells us that our souls have the ability to praise God, and choose to remember all the benefits we have in Him (see Psalm 103:1-2).

Have you ever had those days when you’re upset at something, and you end up snapping at everyone who crosses your path? This is because the condition of our souls greatly affects our disposition. It affects our behavior and the decisions we make. It affects how we relate with our spouse, children, and people in general. That’s why it’s so important that we take care of it.

Here are three ways we can refresh our souls:

1. Spend time with God 

“O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water.”

Psalm 63:1 (NLT)

With the daily challenges we face as women, it is important to spend time with God because He alone is our true source of joy, peace, and strength. Spending time with God by reading His Word will feed our soul with the nourishment it needs. Spending time with God through prayer allows us to lift up our worries to Him, and surrender everything that makes us anxious.

2. Spend time with other women

not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another” 

Hebrews 10:25 (NIV)  

There are great benefits to spending time with other women who can relate to what we’re going through. Whether we’re laughing, crying or even just shopping together, knowing that we are not alone already does a lot. Even more so, when another friend gives us a word of encouragement or prays for us. Take time to celebrate your small and big victories with your family and friends, whether through a simple meal or a road trip. 

3. Spend quality time alone

While it’s great to spend time with others, it is equally refreshing and satisfying to spend some quality time alone. Have you ever took yourself out on a table-for-one kind of date without the need to check your phone every two minutes? Nowadays a lot of people feel uncomfortable being alone. But I found that the best time to reflect on the different aspects of yourself—your soul, body, heart, and mind—is when you’re alone, free from distractions and social media. Try inserting some quality alone time in your weekly schedule. Go for a walk or a run. Visit the spa (if your budget permits!). Read a book. Start a hobby. Who knows, you might just discover new things about yourself during that time.

Our souls greatly affect our disposition and relationships, and that is why we need to care for them regularly. If you feel that you’re inconsistent in some of the ways I’ve listed, start a gradual soul-care regimen for it. Your soul and yourself will thank you!

A LATE NEW YEAR POST

2012. I wish I had a better start. After our 2011 year-end trip, most of us got sick. I was tired of being woken up at night by coughing kids and giving medicine round the clock. Added to that was the huge task of cleaning up the house of the left-over mess from the holidays. I was tired and grumpy (and hungry from our one week fast.) I didn’t realize the extent of my  temper until Joaquin told me the other day “Mom, can you not shout again? Please have a nice attitude.” My 3-year old couldn’t have said it better.

Haay… I am reminded once again of my inadequacy and incompetence. I really cannot do this parenting thing on my own. I need divine help. I need God’s grace. I desperately need His help.

A mental preview of 2012 is enough to make me feel excited and exhausted at the same time. I am anticipating a busy year as Nathan prepares to take his college entrance exams, while Janina prepares for highschool and pursues her new-found “career” in theater, and as I homeschool the kids and manage all their extra-curricular activities on top of our speaking engagements and ministry.  No complaints here. I love being fruitful. I just know that I cannot do this on my own.

As we go through another year, I acknowledge my complete dependence on God. I cannot even come close to being a good wife and mother without God’s help. I cannot be an effective speaker without God’s anointing. I cannot mentor and coach other women without His wisdom. I am nothing and cannot be anything without God.